Widgets Magazine

Jun 30, 2011

Did I Ever Tell You?

Curly before he was curly
Every time I sit down at the computer, I think of a couple of things I should have said here or there in a blog, but forgot. So I want to tie up some of those loose ends today. First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned anywhere that Sport is the one who drew our picture that has now become Twelve Makes A Dozen. You might have guessed that already if you noticed all the cars that follow the people around. Sport is the ultimate car king. If you missed that story you can read about it here.

Me and my sweetie
The second thing I wanted to mention is that you have probably noticed that we have way more family pics on our blog now than we did in the beginning. That is because my sweetie was very nervous about sharing our family and all its craziness with you. He insisted on aliases and he wanted us to stay incognito. Then came the opportunity to have the interview with the Salt Lake Tribune…well, we couldn’t say “no” to that! Then to show his support and how much he loves me (cause he’s cool like that) he gave me a new camera and the permission to put whatever pictures I want on the blog as a special gift for Mothers’ Day. So that’s why you are seeing more of us.

Teach and the Dog Walker (pretending to be Harry Potter)
Teach also bought herself a $750.00 digital SLR camera (since she has managed to put herself through the university with her scholarships and not one cent of debt!). So the quality of our pics should be getting much better (except for the days when she isn’t around and I forget my Powershot and I have to use my cell phone). Bossy has always been my blogging buddy, but since she got a new job working for the state, she has been so busy that Teach has become my new best helper. It’s so nice to have kids that are willing to help me with all my crazy dreams.

Baby Doll
I think the blogging world is an amazing place, not scary at all! For the most part, people are kind and supportive. In fact, I saw my first truly negative comment on a blog today and it wasn’t even on my blog but it made my heart ache. Why would someone take the time to tell someone else that their blog was “boring and pointless”? It obviously isn’t pointless to them!


Thank you for always being so supportive of our silliness! The Drama Queen has been insisting that I tell you that our less-than-six-months-old blog passed 30,000 pageviews yesterday. That seems like a good reason to celebrate…after all, we haven’t had a birthday around here since Sunday…


Prima Donna's Birthday Cake (it was tasty!)

Jun 29, 2011

Guest Blog: Relay for Life by Teach

Last Friday night the Moonwalkers embarked on a mission to raise a butt-load of money for the American Cancer Society. And we did it. Even through the blood (one of my friends lost a toenail!), sweat (Dog Walker smells pretty bad at events like these), and tears (for all the ones who have to deal with this terrible disease).

My best friend and I were co-captains of the Moonwalkers team. Dog Walker and Drama Queen were also on our team and they were right in the thick of all our fundraising. Earlier this month we had a huge car wash and bake sale that brought in a couple hundred dollars, we also went door-to-door to all of our wonderfully generous neighbors. At Relay we had a silent auction in which our team contributed 15 entries.  I want to thank my mom and Twelve Makes a Dozen for donating two baskets to our team! Thanks, Mom!  Drama Queen also dressed up as a clown (fresh from Sport’s birthday party) and she tied balloon animals at the event and brought in a whopping $6 for her efforts! The whole family came over and supported us by buying concessions, bidding on baskets, and walking around the track. We relayed until we were exhausted; I only got about 10 minutes of sleep.

Relay for Life is an amazing program set up by the American Cancer Society to help the community get involved with raising money for cancer research. The theme is:

Celebrate.
Remember.
Fight back.

Click here to donate to our team.
At Relay we have three different ceremonies.  The opening ceremony is for all those survivors who have fought and continue to fight cancer. This year I got to attend with my Grandpa. Last summer he discovered that he had prostate cancer and he had to have radiation treatments. Right now he is cancer-free and we hope he will stay that way for a long time. I also have a friend named Abby who has thyroid cancer. She has had a couple of surgeries, but she is also doing well. She had her first surgery when she was only 12. So Grandpa and Abby and all the other survivors take the first lap around the track. Then after that, friends, families, and teammates all walk around the track until the end of the Relay. This shows how we won’t sleep until we find a cure.

When it starts to get dark, we have the Luminaria ceremony. Since we are on a football field, we fill white paper sacks with sand and little candles, then we place them in the bleachers on either side of the field. On one side we write the word HOPE and on the other side we write the word CURE with these bags. Then we put the bags all the way around the track to light our way for the rest of the night. When we finally finish the Relay, we are exhausted and ready to collapse, but our fight back ceremony reminds us to fight against cancer by wearing sunscreen, receiving mammograms, and eating healthy. They also announce the winners of the silent auction and they tell us how much money we collectively raised for cancer. When we are finally able to go home and rest, we have smiles on our faces because we know we have supported a worthy cause. When all was said and done, this year our team brought in $2,241.93.
The girl in the purple survivor shirt is my friend, Abby.
I was on the committee and also a a team captain. People ask me all the time why I Relay. I Relay for all those who have lost a loved one. There are many people in my life who have been affected by cancer.  I Relay to rid the world of cancer so that when I am a mother I never had to watch my kids suffer from this terrible disease.  I Relay for the past, present, and future.  I love this cause! I pray that one day the world will be cancer-free.

Jun 28, 2011

Sport Turned 8

And the birthdays just keep on coming! Sport turned 8 last Thursday and on Friday we had a big birthday bash for 16 of his closest friends. It was a carnival-type atmosphere here in our backyard. Normally I am all for the calmer, simpler type parties where we play red rover and duck duck goose, but for some reason, I just felt like he needed something special.

My sweetie had made some carnival games for a Pack Meeting earlier this year so I convinced him that would make a fun birthday party. We had a Plinko game, a beanbag toss, a ring toss, a duck pond, and a racetrack. We also had an amazing concessions stand that gave out popcorn, hot dogs, cupcakes, and ice cream cones. I even convinced the Drama Queen to dress up as a clown and make balloon animals (a life-skill that she learned just for the day). A favorite part was the carnival tickets that Sport was responsible for handing out as each guest arrived. Then each station had a sharpie and marked off the various events and food items. The kids loved it! The only bad part was when they ran out of carnival games and everybody was melting in the heat. My sweetie came to the rescue by bringing out the K’nex and having the kids build race cars in teams and then having a race. That left only about 10 minutes for them to chase around before their parents arrived.


All in all it was a pretty successful day. But we did have some trauma early on. Sport was helping my sweetie clean up the backyard and get things set up for the party when my sweetie found a small black sports car in the grass that had clearly seen better days. We have told the kids to stop taking the cars into the yard since the Dog Walker just runs over them with the lawnmower…Anyway, as a lesson, my sweetie made HIM toss the car into the dumpster. Sport was devastated! He loves cars almost as much (maybe more) than he loves his brothers and sisters and his dad had just made him throw one away!

When I heard the story I gently reminded my sweetie that those cars were Sport’s babies and maybe he needed to rescue it from the dumpster and be the hero instead of the meanie. He grumbled a bit, but headed outside to look for it. About 20 minutes later he returned. Sport and I were sitting at the kitchen table, talking about the party plans when my sweetie plopped down in a chair. We both looked at him expectantly, but he only had eyes for Sport. “Did you rescue that car out of the dumpster?” he asked accusingly. Sport averted his eyes and shrugged his shoulders. My sweetie tried again to be the hero, “Mom said I was throwing away one of your babies and I needed to get it out for you, but I can’t find it and I was wondering if maybe you knew anything about it.” Sport looked up and smiled; a lone tear still leaked from the corner of his eye. “How did you know?” he asked curiously. My sweetie stood up from the chair, mystery solved. “Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the dumpster was open and I couldn’t find the car…and then there was a chair…”

Cars of any kind are definitely Sport’s passion! On any given day he will have at least three or four cars in his pockets, some for himself and some to share. He is kind and sweet and loves to help his dad (as long as none of his cars are in danger). I’m dreading the day he learns to drive now that we are halfway there…he’ll probably have a party and invite sixteen of his closest friends…

Jun 27, 2011

Happy 13th Prima Donna

We have lots of birthdays at our house. This past week we had two and I didn’t write about either child because we were so busy with other things, but I want to fix that right now.

2010 school picture
The Prima Donna turned 13 yesterday, but it seems like she’s been a teenager for a long time. I don’t mean to imply that she is mouthy or anything (even though she is…), but she has just always seemed so grown up. Princess is a petite little thing and has been from Day 1. She was two when the Prima Donna was born and before she was three, they were the same size. They stayed pretty even for a couple of years before the Prima Donna outgrew her and never looked back. When she was in third grade the doctor suggested we have her thyroid tested because she was the size of an average fifth grader. The specialist told us to relax…she was just the size of an average fifth grader and would likely end up being around 5’10” when she was finally finished growing. Well I don’t know if she is finished growing, but she got her first pair of stilettos for her birthday and she is at least 5’10” with them on.


13th Birthday!
I’ve told you some fun stories on her lately, like the night she caught the curling iron in her hair and her “enlightened” pancakes, but I haven’t told you what a sweet, happy girl she is. She just seems to bounce back from adversity and she is not afraid to laugh at herself. Remember the story of the 4th of July and her stitches? We were remembering that one just this weekend when we were trying to decide on plans for the 4th. She is not at all like some of my kids who inherited the shy gene from their dad. She is more like me, out-going and friendly to both girls and boys. She loves to sing and hang out with Princess. She plays the clarinet and had her first taste of marching band last weekend.

She has been dancing since she was three and she recently earned her pointe shoes. But where she really shines is in her jazz class! It is so fun to watch her dance. She makes faces and winks at the audience. You can tell that she loves what she is doing. One of her favorite games is playing school with her little brothers and sisters. I’m guessing that I have another teacher on my hands. She can read and do almost anything at the same time. That gets really annoying when she is doing her chores V..E..R..Y S..L..O..W..L..Y because she has a book in her hands.

Four Best Friends!
You know all my kids are scouts, and she recently earned her Silver Award at a huge ceremony downtown. She is usually smiling and just happy to be part of whatever party she has created. Last week she and Princess were gone to camp and the house was just not the same without them. I only got a couple of days and they are off again tomorrow for Oakcrest (another week-long camp). She is always busy planning the next big thing…her tea parties are legendary! A straight-A student with several honors classes, she makes us proud at school too. I’m so grateful to be her mom even if the stilettos do make her taller than me. Love you! Happy birthday…






Jun 26, 2011

My New Role

Did I ever tell you it’s hard to actually pull off going anywhere with this crew of mine? You know ever since I wrote about the Mormon Miracle pageant a couple of weeks ago and how much I enjoyed being part of that cast as a kid, everybody but my sweetie has been dying to go see it. I was most anxious to see if it was as amazing as I remember from my youth and some of the kids insisted they had never been. We say that we will go every year, but something always comes up and it doesn’t happen. This year was no different.
Princess and the Prima Donna spent all week at Girls’ Camp, so Saturday night was our only option and it also happened to be the last performance. Teach, Drama Queen, and the Dog Walker all survived Friday night at their Relay for Life, walking the track and helping raise money for cancer research and cure. (Thanks to everyone who donated, btw!) Then we had three soccer games (except that Crafty threw up right before her game, so she didn’t go) and I had to make a quick trip to Kohl’s that turned into a long trip…they have some amazing clearance and I have an extra 30% off this week! But I think I’m pretty much done with school shopping.

Anyway, by the time everyone got back to the house, tired and exhausted (and a little ornery), I almost wrote it all off. But we were still in the same boat, everybody but my sweetie said they wanted to go so we quickly loaded a cooler and some sandwich makings and stuffed everyone in the van. With the older girls along, every seat was full. And believe me, we heard about it for most of the 2-hour drive! Thankfully, a bunch of them took the opportunity to nap, so that helped. We spent a couple of hours at Grandma’s house, then we headed for Manti.

We arrived just before 9:00, found a parking place, covered everybody but the baby in bug spray, and hiked three blocks to the temple grounds. I could tell right off that things were different. First of all, the blankets we brought were mostly not necessary. Almost the entire area was covered with folding chairs. When I was young, they only had a small section of them for the “old” people and everyone else spread out on the ground. My sweetie grumbled about not getting to cuddle on a blanket, but then led the troops right down front. We waited for about half an hour for the show to begin. Curly kept bouncing around from seat to seat, a combination of the donut I fed him and the fact that he hadn’t remembered to go to the potty.

Finally the show began at dusk. The kids were annoyed that I knew all of the words since the soundtrack is mostly the same, so after about the first 10 minutes I stopped quoting and started listening. The part when Joseph dies still made me cry as did the Mormon Battalion scene. It was not the same, but then it couldn’t be. There I was, no longer a young girl who was part of the cast, but a mom with ten of her children gathered around, watching the scenes unfold. I had Baby Doll tucked in my jacket to nurse and keep the bugs away. Curly and Teach on one side, Drama Queen with Scout on the other. All the normal quiet chaos we have at any church meeting and I found myself feeling very comfortable in my new role. I guess that’s how life usually works. You can’t really ever go back…but maybe forward is better anyway.

Jun 25, 2011

Day Camp

I’ve told you before that Scouting is very important in my family.  So of course I had to sign up Crafty and Scout for Day Camp. Every year our Service Unit puts on a little three-day camp that costs about 25 bucks for approximately 10 hours of activities. That’s pretty cheap babysitting! The first evening they were supposed to meet at 5:30 at a little park over by the “Oval” in Kearns. They were going ice-skating. I had the girls pack their little backpacks with a jacket, water bottle, and their swaps. 

Not our swaps.  Instructions here.

Swaps are little pins that they are supposed make themselves and “swap” with other scouts. Teach and I sweated over these all week and then we finally designed them and made them with very little help from the girls. Crafty’s were little ribbon roses hot glued to pins, and Scout’s were Christmas buttons hot glued to pins. I know it’s June, but it was actually rather appropriate since their day camp was called Holiday Hijinks. 

So we were driving over to the Oval and I asked Crafty to read me the address since it had been a while since we had been in that area. It was about that time when she noticed that they were supposed to eat dinner! Being the amazing (but forgetful) mom that I am, I pulled into the nearest Sonic and ordered them each a chicken sandwich. After about ten minutes waiting for our food, I impatiently poked the order button. 

photo credit
 “Can I help you?” some unknown voice asked. “Is our order ready yet?” I demanded. I may be forgetful, but I hate checking in late and I hadn’t planned any extra time for a stop, especially not one that took so long. About 30 seconds later, they finally delivered our order. I passed out the food and drove the last 5 minutes to the park. Of course Scout had only eaten about two bites of her sandwich. I wasn't sure that really qualified as dinner, so I told her to haul it along with us. She nibbled on it for the 20 minutes it took us to check in. 

photo credit
 Check in/check out is always a big huge hairy deal. My Service Unit Director took one look at Scout and said, “Oh, her first Day Camp!” (We’re geeks like that…) “Yeah, she’s so cute,” I commented. And she and Crafty were off with the rest of the girls just like a bunch of little scouts.  They had a plenty of fun activities all three days of the camp. On Thursday they made Easter bunny pins and tacos for Cinco de Mayo. On Friday they made snowmen kits and giant Christmas stockings. They made lots of new friends. We even managed to arrange a carpool for the second two days with a neighbor I didn’t even know had a girl in scouts. Her dad was supposed to pick everybody up from the final day. 

My girls came bouncing in the house about 7:45, singing silly Girl Scout songs and showing off their goodies. About 8:15 I got a call on my cell phone that I didn’t recognize. I punched the talk button, “Hello?” “Is this Sandy?” a strange voice asked. “Yes,” I said tentatively. “Do you have your girls?” she asked somewhat accusingly. “Which ones?” I asked, confused. I have lots of girls. “Crafty and Scout,” (although I must confess she used their real names). “Yes, they are right here,” I answered cheerfully. “Nobody checked them out!” Now if you know girl scouts like I know girls scouts, you know that this is a huge breech in protocol. 

“Oh, we have a new scout dad and I guess he didn’t know,” I answered, “Sorry.” You would think she would be relieved to know that they hadn’t lost four little girls, but instead she just seemed annoyed. “Next time, check them out!” I hung up the phone. Maybe we needed to have a shirt for dads that reads “First Day Camp." At least then they would know which dads need a lesson at check-in.

Jun 24, 2011

Food for Thought - Tuna Casserole

I loved my mother dearly, but I have to tell you that she made the worst tuna casserole on the planet! First of all, she used Cream of Mushroom soup. I’m ok with creamed soups, in fact my recipe uses one, but I can not tolerate the tiny mushroom cubes that used to come in the mushroom variety. I’m sure they have improved it over the last 30 years…but I haven't tried it again in my adult life.

The other thing Mom did was bake it in the oven with uncooked noodles. In her defense, when I was a kid the only person in town with a microwave was Grandma and that’s because she worked at an appliance store and she really was one of the first people to get one. I know she paid over $800.00 for it (with her store discount!) and that was back in the late 70s, early 80s, but she always said it was well worth the money because it made food prep so much easier.

Anyway, back to Mom’s casserole, the noodles never seemed to get all the way cooked so half of them ended up hard and crunchy. Those were the nights I arranged to have dinner at Grandma’s house. When my sweetie and I got married, tuna took a tremendous price increase for several years. I’m not sure why, but for a little while the asking price was over a dollar a can! Then the prices slowly inched down to something more reasonable. That’s when I developed my own recipe for Tuna Casserole. The kids love it! Yesterday was Sport’s 8th birthday and he chose it as his birthday meal. Please give it a try, leave me a comment, and let me know what you think!

Tuna Casserole


1 ½ lbs macaroni (you can use different pasta)
3 small cans cream of chicken soup
milk to fill the soup cans
2 cans tuna (drained REALLY well)
1 cup of cheese
another ½ cup of cheese for topping
crushed potato chips

Cook pasta according to package directions.  In a casserole dish, stir soup, milk, tuna, and 1 cup of cheese until mostly smooth.

When pasta is done, drain it well and add it to the casserole dish.  Stir well, cover with plastic wrap and put it in the microwave for 10 minutes.

Remove plastic wrap.  Stir really well, especially the corners.  Cover with remaining cheese and the crushed potato chips.  Microwave again for about 3 minutes uncovered. And you might want to serve it with something that's not yellow...but Sport's favorite veggie is corn and it was his birthday, so what could I do?

Jun 23, 2011

The Early Riser

The Prima Donna has been working on a challenge from one of her teachers. The hardest part for her was going to bed at 10:30 and getting up at 6:30 (and that’s in the AM!) Like Scout, she has never been known as an early riser, but she really wanted to “rise” to the occasion this time. She started on Monday and it was pretty hard the first day. But by Tuesday, she was feeling good and she asked me if it would be OK if she made pancakes on Wednesday morning for the family. Of course I’m fine when anybody offers to cook around here, but I reminded her that I would be sawing logs at that time of day and unless she was burning the house down, she needed to let me sleep. It’s summer for crying out loud!

Not actual pancake photo credit

Wednesday morning arrived bright and early and she crawled out of bed with great intentions. When my sweetie got downstairs just before 7:00, she was staring at the pancake batter. “What’s wrong?” he immediately jumped to the obvious conclusion. “I don’t know…” she mumbled slowly. “The dough looks funny.” Now my sweetie is a fixer when it comes to recipes. Just the other day the Drama Queen was making rice pudding and she accidentally grabbed the container of cumin instead of cinnamon…well my first response was to just throw it away, but he actually made it not only edible, but delicious.

photo credit
 
So he immediately jumped in and tried to help. “It looks like your griddle isn’t hot enough,” he concluded as he scraped the black gobs of dough from the griddles. Then he proceeded to give a five-minute lecture on the merits of a hot griddle including the dancing water test. They poured out another bunch of cakes with similar results. “Hmmm…” he decided it wasn’t the griddle after all, it must be the batter. It looked a little thick. “How much of each thing did you put in?” he questioned as he stuck his little finger into the batter and then touched it to his tongue. He almost spit it out. The Prima Donna shrugged her shoulders and then started going over the recipe with her showing him each item.

When they got to the baking powder, she proudly held up the tablespoon. “Did you notice that this recipe calls for teaspoons of baking powder, not tablespoons?” my sweetie asked. The Prima Donna frowned. He started adjusting here and there, trying to get the recipe to work. After 20 minutes of adding flour, milk, anything he could think of, the batter still exploded on the griddle into tiny black balls of gooey mess. “How about we try again tomorrow?” he suggested. “I’m already late for work.” The Prima Donna agreed and set about cleaning up the mess and pouring the spoiled batter down the sink.

The next morning dawned bright and early at 6:30 and the Prima Donna climbed out of bed again. My sweetie joined her a few minutes later and they started mixing the batter. Now I know this is crazy, but remember, we have many mouths to feed so they had to six times the recipe. When they came to the baking powder, the Prima Donna proudly held up the teaspoon this time. “I’m not going to mess it up today,” she said brightly. She started to dig into the baking powder. When she got to six, she started digging for number seven. “What are you doing?” my sweetie asked. “You only need six.” Her face reddened and she started to laugh. “What’s the matter?” demanded my sweetie. “I think I did the math wrong yesterday,” she confessed. “Instead of six teaspoons of baking powder, I put in 24 tablespoons!” It’s no wonder my sweetie couldn’t fix it. And no amount of leavening is going to make the Prima Donna an early riser!

Jun 22, 2011

My Father-in-Law

Fathers’ Day week wouldn’t be the same without a tribute to my amazing father-in-law. He was born in 1917 and his dad died in the flu epidemic of 1918. His mom was pregnant with baby #4 and even though she was a girl, she named her Clyde after her deceased husband.

My FIL grew up during the Depression and joined the army to try to keep his brother from being drafted, but it didn’t work…his brother had to serve anyway. I have at least a dozen good army stories for you, but I’ll save them for another time. He married his first wife during one of his few trips on leave. He survived the war, and spent some time on the beaches of Normandy.

This is my MIL and FIL with their six kids.
His first marriage produced a couple of kids, but eventually he and his wife divorced and he married my mother-in-law. She was in her early 20s and he was in his early 40s and it all created quite a scandal in their tiny hometown. They became the parents of six children, and my sweetie was second and the oldest son. My father-in-law was a plumber by trade and a wonderfully kind and generous man. He was not a church-going man, but he spent many long hours helping the poor and the widows with their problems without charging them a cent. He often wore green or blue Dickies and his shirt had what he called a “magic pocket.” In that pocket he always had cash that he would hand to my MIL when she was going to the store, or when we were first married he would force a twenty on my sweetie to help us with gas money to get home after a visit.

Bossy and the Gym Rat loved Grandpa and his huge garden! In the fall we would visit often to help with the harvest and he always insisted that we bring home fresh veggies and later in the season, jars of beans, applesauce, and tomatoes.

One of my fondest memories of him happened when I was 8 months pregnant with the Drama Queen. It was July1989, and we were driving the hour and a half to visit. My sweetie couldn’t leave until after work, so it was evening and nearly dark. The roads were mountainous, but since it was summer, we were not concerned about deer and elk like we were when we traveled these roads in the winter. We were zipping along at the speed limit, anxious to reach our destination. Bossy and the Gym Rat were asleep in their car seats in the back seat and my sweetie was driving. I had on a tent-sized dress and flip-flops. It was hot, but the air conditioner made it a bit more bearable. We were chatting about this and that when suddenly a huge deer flashed through our headlights and before my sweetie even had time to react, it smashed into the windshield and bounced off onto the side of the road. Both kids started screaming as my sweetie struggled for control of the vehicle. It was impossible to see through the windshield and tiny shards of glass were everywhere. He carefully maneuvered the car onto the shoulder of the road and climbed out to inspect the damage. I tried to calm the chaos in the back seat and make sure the kids were not hurt by the flying glass.

Within minutes, a truck pulled over to help. The driver was kind enough to give us a ride into town and we showed up at my in-laws’ door in terrible shape. My sweet father-in-law took one look at us and led my hugely pregnant body to a chair in the kitchen. Then he filled a dishpan with warm soapy water and knelt on the floor in front of me and proceeded to wash the tiny pieces of broken glass from my bare feet. In several places, drops of blood beaded up as he gently sponged away the hurt. After he was finished, he moved me to the couch and then headed out to take care of our crippled vehicle. I have never forgotten his love and concern for me.

He passed away in October of that same year from a massive heart attack that took him quickly and quietly in his favorite recliner that we had given him. We have tried to keep his memory alive even though none of our children remember him. I promise I will tell you a few more stories from his life someday soon. A man like him should never be forgotten.

Grandpa and Bossy

Jun 21, 2011

Sweetie

I don’t know why I start these silly traditions…but since it’s Fathers’ Day week, I’m just going to have to tell you a little about my sweetie. First, let me say that he doesn’t like to be in the spotlight and he will be annoyed that I shared him with you. Second, because he is the most amazing guy on earth, he will forgive me for embarrassing him.

I’ve already told you how we met and fell in love and all that mushy stuff back in February during Valentine’s Week. So we will make it easy. I will just tell you about today…a rather typical crazy day at our house.

My sweetie is an Electronics Design Engineer by trade and he usually works four 10-hour days on the other side of the valley. Now that the kids are out of school, I usually wave to him from my sleep-induced stupor as he heads out the door at the crack of dawn. Sometimes he sleeps in a little and goes in a bit later, but on those days the kids hardly get to see him because when you do the math, if he goes in at 9:00, the earliest he can come home is 7:00.

So this morning was one of those days, we turned off the early alarm and decided to snuggle for an extra hour before he headed out. While he was in the shower, I got a call from my SIL asking me if I could run over to his house and jump-start his car. I moaned and rolled over, sliding Baby Doll to the center of the bed. I don’t like early mornings and it was still early…My sweetie calmly agreed to make the 15-minute drive and take care of the ailing vehicle.

I assumed he would head off to work after that. Imagine my surprise when he showed up again 45 minutes later with Burrito in tow! “I’m taking the day off work!” he announced. “I want to get the backyard in shape for you before Sport’s birthday party on Friday.” I was absolutely thrilled with this news since I was dreading the yard work that would definitely fall to me when the girls left for girls’ camp on Tuesday. He had the older kids organized within the half-hour and soon they were all working together in the backyard. I kept the younger ones inside and we tackled the kitchen and the other areas on the main floor including my monstrously high pile of clean laundry that I hadn’t been able to get to over the crazy weekend. 

We took a break for lunch and he herded them all back outside to put in another few hours. By 3:00, everything was looking good (Except for the patio furniture; I’m supposed to be making new cushions…I’ve been working on them for almost a month now.) My sweetie and the Dog Walker had moved an entire pickup full of rocks to fill in an area that was full of weeds this morning. 

Yet he still came in the house, tired, but cheerful and helped all the kids make wooden racecars from our Home Depot kits. He finished putting together his little kid trampoline (a Fathers’ Day gift so he wouldn’t have to worry about Curly getting hurt on the big tramp), and watched the kids play for a bit. He also tilled our huge sand-pile so the sand is nice and soft for the kids to play in and then he sprayed the entire area for bugs so they wouldn’t cause problems at the party. 

After a quick shower he ran the Dog Walker over to the park so he could check on his geocache…which had disappeared, btw…He returned just in time to grab a bite to eat and then we all watched a movie for FHE. He is like this every day, working hard to make my life better and easier. He still calls me his “Arm Candy” when we go out and he tells me I’m beautiful, even though I know my 46-year-old self is nothing like the 18-year-old girl he married. I am so glad that we found each other and plan to spend the rest of forever together. I love him to pieces…Did I embarrass you too much, Sweetie? You are the best thing that ever happened to me. Thanks for being the father of my children. Happy Fathers’ Day!

I guess you can say we have good chemistry!

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